Freedom of information

The Freedom of Information Act 1982 provides members of the community with a legally enforceable right of access to documents held by Council, unless exemptions apply.

Common exemptions include documents containing material obtained in confidence (such as the details of complaints about neighbourhood nuisances such as barking dogs), personal information where release would be unreasonable (including the details of an individual's health or financial position) and material of a commercially sensitive nature. Reasons are provided if requests are refused and the applicant is advised of the appeal rights that apply.

Requests under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 should be directed to:

Freedom of Information Officer
City of Casey
PO Box 1000
Narre Warren 3805

foi@casey.vic.gov.au

All requests must be in writing giving sufficient information to enable Council to identify the document sought. Application forms and further information can be downloaded from this page.

A fee of $28.40 is payable at the time of submitting the request. Further charges for search time ($21.30 per hour), photocopying (20 cents per A4 page) and supervised viewing ($5.30 per quarter hour) also apply. Should the estimated charges exceed $50.00, the applicant will be contacted and asked to confirm that they wish to continue with the request.

Freedom of Information Facts

The Freedom of Information Act 1982 (the “Act”) gives any person the right to request information in documentary form held by:

  • Ministers
  • State government departments
  • Local Councils
  • Most semi-government organisations and statutory authorities
  • Public hospitals and Community Health Centres

The Act gives you the right to access:

  • Documents about your personal affairs and the activities of government organisations; and
  • Request that incorrect or misleading information held by an organisation about you be amended or removed.

You have a right to apply for access to documents that are held by an organisation which are covered by the Act.

This includes:

  • Documents created by the organisation
  • Documents supplied to the organisation by an external organisation or individual
  • Documents about your personal affairs, regardless of the age of the documents
  • Documents held by a Council, not older than 1 January 1989.

The definition of a 'document' includes emails, correspondence (typed or hand written), memos, reports, maps, films, diaries, microfiche, photographs, computer discs, tape recordings and videotapes.

You can request a copy of the documents or request to inspect the documents.

How do I make an FOI request to Council?

A valid request must be:

  • In writing - complete the form available on this page
  • Accompanied by an application fee or an application for the fee to be waived due to financial hardship
  • Sufficiently clear to enable the Council to conduct a thorough and constructive search for the documents sought.

An applicant is required to define the documents sought with as much precision as possible. There should be sufficient information provided by the applicant about the documents sought to enable a thorough and constructive searches to be made, i.e. detailing of requirements in terms of record types, providing keywords and date ranges of required records will greatly assist the discovery process. Reasonable assistance will be provided where required to enable an applicant to make a valid request.

How much will my FOI application cost?

There are two costs associated with making a request:

  • An application fee $28.40 (from July 2017 to June 2018)
  • Access charges.

The application fee is a non-refundable, fixed cost required under legislation. The only exception applies to applicants suffering hardship who can ask Council to consider waiving the application fee.

Access charges relate to the costs incurred in granting access to the documents that have been requested, which may include search time and copying charges.

These costs may or may not apply depending on the nature of the request. All fees and charges are exempt from GST and are set by the Act. Access charges may include:

  • Search charges - $21.30 per hour or part of an hour
  • Supervision charges - $5.30 per quarter hour
  • Photocopying charges - 20c per black and white A4 page
  • Providing access in a form other than photocopying - the reasonable costs incurred by the organisation in providing that access and supervision if it is required.

Where can I pay the application fee?

The application fee can be paid at any of Council’s Customer Service Centres, by credit card payment, over the phone or sent by cheque or money order. 

What happens when Council receives an FOI application?

Once Council receives a request, an Officer will review the application to make ensure that all the necessary information has been included and the documents being requested have been clearly identified.

Council will notify the applicant, in writing if any further clarification is required. When the request has been processed, a letter will be sent to the applicant advising Councils decision. Council will decide to either:

  • Release all the documents you requested
  • Release part of the documents you requested
  • Release none of the documents you requested.

In some circumstances, Council may not locate any relevant documents but will still notify the applicant of this outcome within 30 days of the date Council receives the request.

How long will my application take?

The Act requires Council to finalise a request within 30 calendar days from the date a valid request is received. This time limit only applies if the request is sufficiently clear for the officer to process it and the application fee has been paid or waived.

Please note that timeframes to process a request may be altered, depending on extensions of time granted to Council for the purpose of consultation. FOI requests may also be placed on hold, pending payment of a deposit.

What information can I access without a FOI application?

Information which you might be able to obtain without a submitting a request includes:

  • Your own personal information, such as personnel records
  • Information which is available publicly, such as information placed on a public register
  • Information which is available for purchase from Council*

A link to Council Travel Register is available on this page.

*Please refer to Council’s Part II Statement on this page for details about other information that is publicly available.

What if I am not satisfied with the decision?

If you are not satisfied with Council decision to grant access to certain documents, you can seek an external review of the decision by contacting the Office of the Victorian Information Commissioner at:

Office of the Victorian Information Commissioner
PO Box 24274
MELBOURNE VIC 3001
Tel: 1300 842 364
Email: enquiries@foicommissioner.vic.gov.au
Web: www.foicommissioner.vic.gov.au

All requests for review must be received within 28 days of the original decision notification.

I need further information and assistance

You can contact a member of the Governance team at foi@casey.vic.gov.au